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A Trip to Hydraulic Mountain: Our Predictions for Interbike

Well, it’s that time of year again. Yes, that time where we pack light, drink plenty, and head off into the desert to view the latest and greatest that the cycling industry has to offer. And while Eurobike does act as a bit of a spoiler in this sense, from time to time, Interbike tends to deliver some left hooks in the surprise department. So, I thought that it’d be interesting to spell out my predictions for the show ahead of time.

Starting with the obvious, I’m sure that we’ll be seeing a host of hydraulic road setups. Of course, SRAM has already delivered on this front with Red 22, but I’m still curious to see 6870 Di2 hydraulic in the flesh, as well as to see if Dura-Ace 9070 will also get a hydraulic upgrade. And, just as importantly, there’s bound to be a screaming fleet of Italian road bikes that are less than enthused about being dragged into the future. So, the big question is: Who will get ahead of the storm and start debuting ‘cross and road frames that are disc-ready? Ridley’s ‘cross line and Orbea’s Avant are already miles, well, kilometers ahead here, but I predict to see the European armada vigorously embrace this burgeoning trend, much as they’ve done with 27.5—missing the 29er shuttle must still sting.

However, when it’s all said and done, I’m sure that manufacturers will extend more of a “hydro-bridge” to ‘cross frames than to road, and well, I can’t blame them. Along these lines, it seems that cyclocross is fueling the biggest fire of excitement, anyway. Hopefully, we’ll see more thru-axles make their way onto ‘cross bikes, and, as long as I’m at it, some more tubeless wheel/tire possibilities would be equally well received.

And surely, there’s going to be more crazy “fabric additives” than you can shake a stick at, all promising to block out some invisible energy wave that was just discovered at CERN. Of course, I’ll see some that show promise, such as ceramic oxides, and others that’ll make me want to scream about the research that I’ll have to do when I get home. However, in a world of marginal gains, we might all benefit from post doctorates in polyester.

So, outside of the predictable, I can’t help but compile a wish list of predictions. Sure, I wish that I’ll be able to walk past the microSHIFT booth without laughing, or stonily move past the Taiwan Pavilion without being crippled by depression, but mainly, I would love to see an electronic mountain groupset. I won’t be holding my breath on this one—please surprise me Shimano. And keeping with wishes, I also wish to not see a single attendee showcasing the unholy union of compression socks and shorts—it’s simply heinous. And if I’m describing your potential wardrobe, please come prepared with pants. After all, the prize for winning the dealer’s category at Cross Vegas can’t be worth more than 20 seconds of bragging rights and thumbs up from a coworker.

Otherwise, the obvious will most likely continue to reign supreme. The Tune booth will be packed with people with people amazed by but unwilling to invest in such mechanical marvels, I’ll hear sticker requests at every turn, and every product will be lighter, stiffer, and faster than ever before. Thankfully, though, the latter will always bring a smile to my face, and more importantly, keep me coming back year after year.